The New Sex Math: Probabilities and Opportunities

January 25, 2011

In a recent post I asked why difficult, demanding women who put out get boyfriends. (Hint: the qualifier at the end is the kicker.) Several guys commented that it’s because bitches and sluts try harder. They’re making their interest known, signaling their availability, driving down the risk of rejection for the male. They also consider them more feminine and attractive. But why? The most attractive women don’t have to be sluts. Or do they? An attractive but moody woman who’s DTF represents an easy and rewarding target compared to the shy, lovely girl in your chemistry class. Apparently, this drives male behavior – especially in college.

I. The Eligible Bachelor Paradox

It turns out that signaling availability, and possibly even acting as the aggressor, may be a valid strategy throughout one’s dating career. Mark Gimein wrote The Eligible Bachelor Paradox, exploring how game theory might explain why dinner parties among 30-somethings always seem to have a shortage of available, appealing men.

The shortage—or—more exactly, the perception of a shortage—becomes evident as you hit your late 20s and more acute as you wander into the 30s. Some men explain their social fortune by believing they’ve become more attractive with age; many women prefer the far likelier explanation that male faults have become easier to overlook.

The problem of the eligible bachelor is one of the great riddles of social life. Shouldn’t there be about as many highly eligible and appealing men as there are attractive, eligible women?

Gimein says no, and offers an explanation via game theory. In any auction, there will be “strong bidders” and “weak bidders.” Strong bidders are very confident of their ability to win the auction. However, weak bidders understand they can be outbid and often bid more aggressively, while the strong bidders hold out for a great deal. Empirical studies of auctions show that weak bidders often win. In dating, a strong bidder is a woman who feels very confident of her ability to attract men, while a weak bidder knows that she is less attractive and faces stiff competition.

You can see how this works intuitively if you just consider that with a lot at stake in getting it right in one shot, it’s the women who are confident that they are holding a strong hand who are likely to hold out and wait for the perfect prospect.

It’s all about the checklist! Meanwhile, women holding a weaker hand make moves.

Where have all the most appealing men gone? Married young, most of them—and sometimes to women whose most salient characteristic was not their beauty, or passion, or intellect, but their decisiveness.

Grimein does close with a very important caveat:

Game theory deals with how best to win the prize, but it works only when you can decide what’s worth winning.

As an interesting aside, this calls into question the constant refrain that women who are less attractive than their hookups can get them for sex but not for commitment. That makes sense intuitively, but it appears that down the road, at least some men marry the women who bid aggressively. Some of those men may not be worth winning, but some of them are bound to be. In fact, men who are attractive but not socially dominant in their sphere may be quickest to jump at the chance to secure a woman – even if she is not as attractive as he is. The weak bidders are snatching up the good men!

II. The Carol Syndrome

The Eligible Bachelor Paradox dovetails nicely with another game theory concept that’s been applied to dating – dubbed The Carol Syndrome, named for the author’s beautiful friend Carol. Carol doesn’t get asked out much, and she believes that she frightens men away, but she doesn’t understand why. Surely some men are willing to approach her! It turns out that game theory can explain, at least theoretically why no men do.

Let’s say that Carol is sitting in Starbucks. Cute Guy sees her and feels attraction – he would love to get her number. He figures there are three potential outcomes, listed in order of preference:

1. Approach Carol and get her number. Win!

2. Forget it and go back to texting. Meh.

3. Approach Carol and get rejected. Loser!

While Cute Guy is deciding what to do, he notices other guys in Starbucks, several of whom also have noticed Carol and are also stealing glances at her. He is a STEM guy, so he calculates his odds of success with each approach. Obviously, his chance of success with option 2 is zero. Option 1 is much more likely if he’s the only guy who approaches Carol, and Option 3 is probable if several guys approach Carol. He’d really rather not deal with the rejection. But she is gorgeous! How to know what other guys will do?

Game theory says that the better looking Carol is, the more guys will want to approach her, and the more likely that any one of them will be rejected. Since all the guys act independently, the odds are highest that each of them will conclude that it is not a good idea to approach Carol. The more admiring men there are in Starbucks, the lower Carol’s chances of getting approached at all. (Math nerds can find the equation here.)

The article concludes:

“Carol’s perception that she scares men away is not a delusion after all. According to the mathematics above, she may be justified in thinking that guys stay away from her. It is not a matter of bad luck but a collateral effect of interactive rationality. A paradoxical consequence is that Carol’s attractiveness acts as a repellent. This surprising phenomenon — which we call the Carol syndrome —is a by-product of psychological social interaction.”

Men like to say that beautiful women get hit on 50 times a day, but it simply isn’t true. They’re much more likely to go through their day having awkward interactions with tongue-tied men who won’t look them in the eye. Very few men have the cajones to approach a 10 and hit on her – and most 10s are not likely to jump at the chance to stroke the ego of a player. In this sociosexual climate, there are fewer men who feel confident approaching, period.

III. OK Cupid’s Mathematics of Beauty

OKCupid’s latest blog post is about how the distribution of scores men give women for attractiveness predicts how many messages those women will receive. They studied this after noticing that many women rating in the 80th percentile, on average, had widely varying response rates from men.

The first thing they pointed out was that the scoring for a woman who is rated a 7 can look like this:

Or this:

It turns out that women with the second profile get a lot more interest from men, 2-3 times as much in some cases. OKCupid calls is the curse of being “cute” and comes up with a weighted formula that suggests you’re better off if 30% of guys think you’re heinous than if everyone thinks you’re quite attractive. What’s going on? OKCupid says that some people tend to produce stronger reactions than others. Being a person who draws a consensus appraisal is an online dating faux pas, and they go so far as to suggest playing up your faults in photos. Don’t hide those chubby thighs! I’m not particularly impressed with this reasoning (but then again, they’re the statisticians).

I agree that cute and wholesome appears to be a curse, according to these numbers, but in looking at the photos, it seems that many of the successful women are “hot and nasty” looking. In other words, the women with more uneven ratings look decidedly more sexually available, in my opinion.

For example, this woman: is getting only half the messages of this woman:

Huh?

The first woman is faaaaar better looking, in my opinion, but she doesn’t look like the sexual hellcat that is woman #2. In other words, the first woman is suffering from The Carol Syndrome. She got lots of high-ish ratings, but few men approached her. The second woman gets plenty of zeroes, but more ratings of “hot.” The guys who rated her “hot” followed through and took their shot.

Via a different route, OKCupid and I come to the same conclusion:

“So this is our paradox: when some men think you’re ugly, other men are more likely to message you. And when some men think you’re cute, other men become less interested. Why would this happen? Perhaps a little game theory can explain:

Suppose you’re a man who’s really into someone. If you suspect other men areuninterested, it means less competition. You therefore have an added incentive to send a message. You might start thinking: maybe she’s lonely. . . maybe she’s just waiting to find a guy who appreciates her. . . at least I won’t get lost in the crowd. . . maybe these small thoughts, plus the fact that you really think she’s hot, prod you to action.

On the other hand…someone conventionally cute, but not totally hot, might appear to be more in-demand than she actually is. To the typical man considering her, she’s obviously attractive enough to create the impression that other guys are into her, too.”

As an aside, I believe that “hot” and “edgy” are trumping “beautiful” and “warm” in the sexual marketplace today as a direct result of hookup culture, and I plan to expand on this theory in another post soon. Of course, it may be that the first woman is getting messages from men who are interested in a relationship with a lovely woman, and the second woman is getting messaged by men looking for “hit it and quit it” sex.

For now, it does appear that weak bidders have the upper hand in attracting male attention. If you’re a weak bidder (no offense), then you’d be smart to be realistic and decisive. It probably can’t hurt to draw on some heavy eyeliner and take a “come hither” photo of yourself for OKCupid.

If you’re a strong bidder, you can’t afford to sit and wait for men to seek you out. You must be proactive in your search for a man. The only way Carol is likely to get a date at Starbucks is if she approaches the man she finds attractive. That would be the highest possible payoff for Cute Guy. He gets the date without any effort whatsoever!

By the way, game theory is predicated on the notion that people behave rationally. Behavioral economist Dan Ariely, author of Predictably Irrational and The Upside of Irrationality, doesn’t agree (obvs, haha). He’s currently working on a book about dating, which should be very interesting.

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  • GudEnuf

    Very few men have the cajones to approach a 10 and hit on her

    While I object to your gender-essentialist language, the point bears repeating. A 10 is easier than an 8. Males, repeat that to yourself: a 10 is easier than an 8. This is game theory gone awry: because men think there is more competition for the 10, they avoid pursuing her; which means there is less competition for her. This is true even online, where the consequences of rejection are minimal.Aren’t you lucky to have this secret information!

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @GudEnuf

      While I object to your gender-essentialist language…

      Assuming you are serious here (last time I checked only one gender sported cajones) I can only imagine two possibilities:
      1. You’ve been abducted and set to gender neutral reeducation camp.
      2. You’re hooking up with an ardent feminist.

      The graphic that I think you may be referring to is this:

      OKCupid Paradox
      They then said, under the heading “What We Think is Going On,” what I included above in the post:

      So this is our paradox: when some men think you’re ugly, other men are more likely to message you. And when some men think you’re cute, other men become less interested.

      GudEnuf says:

      I’m surprised you don’t buy in to this explanation, seeing it is a natural extension of the Carol paradox.

      But I did buy into it, and specifically identified it as an extension of the Carol paradox. I also said that I was not impressed with their reasoning, and offered additional insights re the sexual message conveyed in the second photo. Do you agree that the first woman is prettier than the second? Do you agree that the second looks like a “bad girl?” Do you agree that men may be more motivated to message a bad girl?

  • GudEnuf

    She got lots of high-ish ratings, but few men approached her. The second woman gets plenty of zeroes, but more ratings of “hot.” The guys who rated her “hot” followed through and took their shot.

    Why are you ignoring the second part of post, which specifically rules out this theory?

  • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

    @GudEnuf
    Oops, just realized I didn’t link to OKCupid. Will remedy that. But I’m not sure what you’re talking about re the theory being ruled out – could you be specific?

  • GudEnuf

    @Susan

    When you control for the number of men who think a woman is hot, heteroscedasticitic beauty still wins out. In other words:

    Woman A: 5 men rate her 10, 5 men rate her 0.
    Woman B: 5 men rate her 10, 5 men rate her 7.

    Woman A will still get more messages. It sounds counter-intuitive, but the explanation is in your quote (“So this is our paradox…”). I’m surprised you don’t buy in to this explanation, seeing it is a natural extension of the Carol paradox.

  • Geoff

    They say a picture’s worth a thousand words…but not in this case. The Susan example picture is just a picture–maybe on her online dating profile it says she’s very religious, loves her still-married parents, and expects to wait until marriage. Maybe the other girl says she’s a Scientologist, hates her father, and expects to wait until about 7 p.m. tonight to have sex. Obviously, these would be variables of great interest if we were trying to dispute the Carol Syndrome Theory.
    .
    I have an alternate theory–chicks as hot as Carol above will get alpha interest of all kinds (and obviously, alphas don’t have confidence problems). They may dismiss her once they figure she’s not an easy score, but they WILL approach her.
    .
    Without some scientific testing that controls for variability in sexual openness, I believe the Carol Syndrome Theory is interesting but unproven, and likely just plain wrong. Good looking chicks do NOT get ignored.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      I have an alternate theory–chicks as hot as Carol above will get alpha interest of all kinds

      But if alphas are only 20% of the population, it’s likely that Carol is often somewhere with zero alphas. In addition, she may be dismissing the guys who approach as overly cocky or smug, a turnoff for many women. Even Mystery flamed out frequently. As has been noted in another comment, Carol is unlikely to go out with just anyone – she’s a strong bidder, and will respond to men of her level of attractiveness, or near it, and she may be very selective. As I pointed out in the post, this is probably not a winning strategy for Carol in this SMP.

  • http://hambydammit.wordpress.com/ hambydammit

    Very interesting stuff. I’d like to suggest another vector in the equation. While it is true that “10”s may be getting approached less because of… what shall we call it… non-selection conformity?? … It’s probably also true that there’s an element of men knowing their place in the universe.

    As you can probably guess, I’m not shy about approaching 10s if the mood hits me. But regardless of my experience, the fact that I own a house, a car, and an education, and a dozen other awesome things about me, I know that the most I’m likely to get in most cases is a phone number which will somehow never be answered.

    Through sheer persistence, I’ve had my fifteen minutes of fame with a 10 or two. But the reality is that most 10s who are complaining about not getting hit on enough are complaining about not getting hit on by 9s and 10s. True, the 6s and 5s aren’t hitting on them either, but all they’d get out of that would be an ego boost, not a date.

    So the 6s and 7s are getting hit on by 6s and 7s (and probably 5s) because the game theory is working out in the guys’ heads and the risk is lower. But we can’t forget that the risk is lower because of simple economics, too. No fancy game theory necessary. HB10s turn down 6s and 7s. And Male 9s and 10s are as rare as female 10s.

  • pjay

    Men should forget about “their place in the universe” and always make a beeline for the hottest woman in the room.
    *
    For precisely the reason that most men will be intimidated by her and hesitate to even acknowledge her presence.
    *
    Testicles. Use them.

  • Mike C

    It’s probably also true that there’s an element of men knowing their place in the universe.
    .
    I’ll second that.

  • Mike C

    However, weak bidders understand they can be outbid and often bid more aggressively, while the strong bidders hold out for a great deal. Empirical studies of auctions show that weak bidders often win. In dating, a strong bidder is a woman who feels very confident of her ability to attract men, while a weak bidder knows that she is less attractive and faces stiff competition.
    .
    I think this also dovetails with the idea that generally speaking guys are going to take the easier route.
    .
    By the way, game theory is predicated on the notion that people behave rationally. Behavioral economist Dan Ariely, author of Predictably Irrational and The Upside of Irrationality, doesn’t agree (obvs, haha).
    .
    This has been studied extensively and exhaustively in the field of behavioral finance. People are extremely irrational, and irrational in very predictable ways.

  • Christi

    I think this is all very interesting. It got me thinking of my number one complaint about guys. Whether I’m at a bar, Starbucks, or crossing the street (happened this morning), the guys that approach me often fall into two categories. They are either guys that are extremely not my type (older, out of shape, or just weird), OR they are ultra alpha, douchey, game-y, cheesy, and hot. I want the nice, cute guy!!! But that guy NEVER talks to me!!! ughhhhh

  • Christi

    oops I wasn’t done. My friends and I talk about this all the time and we figure the weird guys have nothing to lose. They are so used to getting rejected that it’s almost a joke to them. Then the other guys are probably so used to getting their way that they are sure that they will score.

  • pjay

    I think only women have cajones (pun alert).

    Men have *cojones*.

  • http://badgerhut.wordpress.com Badger

    “Where have all the most appealing men gone? Married young, most of them—and sometimes to women whose most salient characteristic was not their beauty, or passion, or intellect, but their decisiveness.”
    .
    I think this intersects with the idea of loyalty as an LTR value. Athol Kay waxed recently about a woman’s expression of loyalty to her husband as a key factor in his faithfulness and marital satisfaction. (Link http://www.marriedmansexlife.com/2010/07/female-loyalty-is-selling-point.html)
    .
    To the point of loyalty, a woman being decisive in her pursuit of a man (or receipt of his pursuit) is a major active signal that she is prepared to be loyal. When she is making social investment in a man, he can predict she’ll feel “skin in the game” in that she took an active role in building her relationship with him. Of course there is a Laffer curve of reversing returns on this, slutty women have no qualms about overtly pursuing and they certainly don’t have any loyalty going on.
    .
    This goes to my point that women are going to have to be assertive in the SMP – showing overt interest, responding with confidence to a man’s advances and sometimes pursuing on their own part. Neither the legal incentives nor the overall quality of the choices are getting better for men, so women who would do well to take a more forward role in actively signalling (that includes initiating the DTR talk.)
    .
    I’ve beat this horse before, but a lot of young women appear to be mentally stuck to the “men present, women select” mating model, and that’s just not a winning strategy today. Plenty of plain Janes have a great shot at a good man and a good life if they are willing to assert some agency.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      I’ve beat this horse before, but a lot of young women appear to be mentally stuck to the “men present, women select” mating model, and that’s just not a winning strategy today. Plenty of plain Janes have a great shot at a good man and a good life if they are willing to assert some agency.

      Agree 100%. Bootcamps for women, perhaps?

  • terre

    But if alphas are only 20% of the population, it’s likely that Carol is often somewhere with zero alphas

    .
    This is not how sexual hierarchy works, although if she’s sufficiently attractive (or deluded) she’ll set up shop and move to a big city where the alphas are truly alpha. Hence women who trek to Hollywood, etc.

  • http://photoncourier.blogspot.com david foster

    “Mathematics of beauty”….sort of like the situation in business where it might be better have a product fanatically loved by 30% and hated by most of the other 70% than one which is so-so liked by just about everybody.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      “Mathematics of beauty”….sort of like the situation in business where it might be better have a product fanatically loved by 30% and hated by most of the other 70% than one which is so-so liked by just about everybody.

      Yes, it’s like indifference vs. hate. A strong emotional response is always more interesting than a neutral one.

  • terre

    And neither sex is to blame for the sad “polyamory” community; both tend to be equally poor offenders for peddling that bill of goods. Women tend to be the more duped, though. The whole “friends with benefits” phenomenon often comically approximates a woman trying to convince herself she wanted to buy that deed to the Moon (check out this thread where commentators dress up their being discarded like a used tissue with phrases like “a relationship wasn’t in the cards”, “neither of us was ready”, etc.)

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @terre
      I thought that post at Salon was interesting – it’s by Tracy Clark Flory, who used to be solidly in the sex-pos camp. Now Salon has deleted Broadsheet, the feminism blog, and she’s still writing the same kinds of articles without a feminist slant. Predictably, Amanda Marcotte has taken her to task at Slate for that FWB article. I thought it was right on, and I intend to write about it. But what fascinates me more is the drifting away of previous “believers” who try it and get hurt, like TCF did.

  • Bob

    Great post – though the rictus-grinning beta in the photo behind the “cuter” girl may also have something to do with it. Can’t find it now, but there is some link out there explaining that girls with guys in their photos are less likely to get responses on dating sites.

    I would also have to smack anyone whose ability to compare logically-deduced conlusions to the observations is impared. If “every” guy is approaching these hotter girls, so it’s not worth it to try… wouldn’t you see someone try if you were there long enough? Witnessed this exact thing happened at a coffee shop yesterday. Gorgeous girl was left alone for half an hour while I was with another lady-friend (in hindsight, my own lady-friend was boring, and only good manners kept me from hitting on the lonely hot chick, but meh, live and learn).

    The problem with the Carol effect is that the game changes as men become aware of it, or as they choose to act irrationally. For instance, in a town with an unusal concentration of Game proponents, or one where every man has read this article, more guys would make the approach. When this information becomes available, the rational method of acting shifts toward making a move. So, as the man said – “Testicles. Use them.”

  • Dalton

    This stuff about 10s not being approached is laughable. The hottest women I have actually spent time with got plenty of attention from guys even while I was with them. The hottest women I have known reported getting hit on by hundreds of men per year. I saw no reason to doubt them because I observed some of it while we were out together. There are plenty of men who are not intimidated by highly attractive women who already appear to be with a man. And a pretty big one like me.

    First you guys claim that less attractive women are harder to approach than beautiful women because they get approached more. Then you concede that most guys find beautiful women so intimidating that they don’t even try with them.

    How do you suppose all those average schlubs learned to be intimidated by beautiful women? Since some seem to have difficulty grasping the obvious, here it is: guys learn to be intimidated by things they repeatedly fail at. Monk’s Guide to Dating put it best:

    “Is it true that many gorgeous babes are never approached by guys?

    All I can say is, “Don’t believe the hype!” Unless a woman stays home all the time, has no job, has no friends or is in a convent, there is a really slim chance that she is unattached or has no suitors. If she is truly dateless, then it is by choice. Most likely she is being very selective. The contention that there are many gorgeous, lonely women is a myth and/or rationalization spread by losers. One need only look around to see the real truth. — Contributed by Friar Wally”

    http://losernet.tripod.com/monk1.html

  • http://badgerhut.wordpress.com Badger

    ““Mathematics of beauty”….sort of like the situation in business where it might be better have a product fanatically loved by 30% and hated by most of the other 70% than one which is so-so liked by just about everybody.”
    .
    Ping to Aldonza and Susan, here’s the business Pareto Principle in action…if 80% of attention comes from 20% of the people, you’re better off having 20-30% of people digging you and the rest writing you off than have everyone thinking you’re an OK second choice if their Carol shoots them down.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Badger

      you’re better off having 20-30% of people digging you and the rest writing you off than have everyone thinking you’re an OK second choice if their Carol shoots them down.

      So you don’t accept the game theory explanation in this case? It’s not a question of guys thinking they don’t have a shot with the first girl – it’s guys getting psyched about the second girl precisely because they do think they may succeed. So yeah, having a really committed 20% is great, but how does a woman engender that? Do you agree with me that the second woman looks more sexually available? Could that explain it?

  • http://www.snubbr.com Henway

    I actually think the second woman is much cuter than the first… but that’s just my opinion. As a man, I will say your theory is absolutely true. I will not take the chance to approach a hot woman if I know many men find her covetable. And you’re absolutely right when you claim most hot women dun get hit on 50+ times in 1 day. The default action a man takes when they see a very hot women is one of shyness and fear, not hitting on her.

  • AnonymousF

    @Badger
    “This goes to my point that women are going to have to be assertive… showing overt interest, responding with confidence to a man’s advances and sometimes pursuing on their own part.”

    Yeah. A reticent woman will still have some options, but they won’t be as good or as numerous.

    When my fiancee and I first met, he saw something that was a dealbreaker for him. Getting him to ask me out took some effort. I had to make my interest in him obvious AND increase his interest in me enough to overcome the negative. If I’d taken the passive approach we’d never have gotten together.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      Getting him to ask me out took some effort. I had to make my interest in him obvious AND increase his interest in me enough to overcome the negative. If I’d taken the passive approach we’d never have gotten together.

      Good testimonial here.

  • Guardial

    Of the two women pictured, they’re both about of equal attraction if you look closely. Both are getting on in years and trying to hide it. The second woman does a better job of distracting with makeup and hair.

    The first woman is obviously chunky. (The second may be also. The photo is cropped to make it difficult to tell.)

    They both display symptoms of Internet Disease.

    Not for the faint of heart.
    http://encyclopediadramatica.com/Internet_disease

    tl;dr The second woman makes a stronger visual impression with striking eye makeup.

  • Guardial

    Beautiful women get hit on constantly. The following covers it pretty well.

    http://althouse.blogspot.com/2007/05/when-women-take-classes-in-tennis-wine.html?showComment=1179521940000#c6734529611275806165

    Tantor said…

    Truly attractive women need never search for men. We men are searching for them everywhere, all the time, around the clock, from puberty until death us do part. We have men positioned on alert around the planet in strategic locations ready to launch at a moment’s notice should an attractive woman appear. A pretty girl can’t go to the grocery store for a quart of milk without coming back with a date. Follow a pretty girl around for a few hours and you will find that she is constantly hit on by every man with a pulse. As far as providing our companionship to attractive women in need of it, we men have the Earth covered. There are no gaps in our coverage. None. If Gisele Bündchen needs a date tonight in the howling Arctic wilderness, we have men ready to go now to serve her need at their own expense and risk.

    So if a woman and her girlfriends can find no men who will date them it is not because all the available single men have been sucked off the face of the planet and deposited in some faraway nebula. It is far more likely that they have overestimated their attractiveness in the dating market and rejected the invitations that any reasonably attractive, healthy woman receives in the course of a week. There is not a single woman alive who can fail to get a date by lowering her expectations, which are too often wildly inflated by conceit.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Guardial
      I disagree entirely with what Tantor said, except that women should pursue their own interests and do what makes them happy. That is more likely to lead to meeting new people, including men. You’ve gotta get as many touches on the ball as possible.

      There is not a single woman alive who can fail to get a date by lowering her expectations, which are too often wildly inflated by conceit.“

      .
      OK, so let’s say a woman who is a 10 decides she is going to say yes to the first 5 who approaches her. She may wait a very long time. That’s the point – the unwillingness of men to approach. Providing links from Game blogs does not really add evidence, as I already stated that this myth is perpetrated precisely in this arena. And again, I’m not talking about “hired guns” here – sure, a hot slut in a bar gets hit on all the time. The story about Carol is interesting precisely because she is beautiful and classy.

  • Plain Jane

    Regarding “guys who know their place in the Universe” – they don’t hit on 10s but they don’t hit on their equals either. They WANT the 10s. They DON’T want their equals. Hence they end up with nobody. I have dozens of examples of this in the lives of the men around me.
    Christi, I also have experience of the weird or older guys approaching me but not the guys I want. I want guys who are my own age. They don’t have to be 10s. But again, guys my own age, my own ethnic group AND my own looks level are pining for 9s and 10s. Therefore I started dating interracially and was able to secure men of higher status within THEIR ethnic group(s).
    That means, a guy at my level in my own race is giving me a pass while holding out for a girl out of his league, while I am able to pull guys in other ethnic groups that are out of my league.
    Make sense?

  • Matt T

    Why would the “most appealing men” marry young? Since the most appealing men are alpha’s, wouldn’t they spend their 20s pumping and dumping girls rather than bothering with marriage? The study’s statement makes no sense to me from that perspective.

    @Plain Jane: Many guys will screw anything with a pulse, but even they have some sense of honor and pride. Everyone wants a girlfriend they can be seen in public with.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      Why would the “most appealing men” marry young? Since the most appealing men are alpha’s, wouldn’t they spend their 20s pumping and dumping girls rather than bothering with marriage?

      First of all, the most appealing men for marriage are not alpha mansluts. Second, not all men enjoy a steady diet of pumping and dumping – some actually start to feel badly about using and then rejecting women. Third, some men enjoy the emotional intimacy and gratification that comes with falling in love.

  • Geoff

    @Plain Jane,
    Why do men have to be your own age? Unless you’re 28 or older, men your age are total horndogs who can’t be trusted.
    .
    As for you being non-selected–IF the guys are old enough to be willing to commit, maybe you could do some of the stuff other guys recommended on earlier post (a little makeup, no flannel shirts, etc.). As for dating interracially–that could be problematic for the kids, presuming you want some. Just sayin.

  • Timothy Webster

    That’s the problem. Two of you women now have admitted to ruling out “older” men. I’m in my early thirties, but I was relegated to “older man” status years ago. And I resent it. I’ve just hit my prime of strength, intelligence, and attractiveness. The non-slutty girls aren’t interested.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      I’m in my early thirties, but I was relegated to “older man” status years ago. And I resent it. I’ve just hit my prime of strength, intelligence, and attractiveness. The non-slutty girls aren’t interested.

      That’s crazy. Perhaps this has something to do with your location? In Boston, a 25 yo woman will be primarily interested in men 27-33 or so. Women prefer to marry a man two years older, but will go up several years happily. Ten is the max. for many people – so it really depends on what you are looking for. If you want a 22 yo, you’re old. If you want a 28 yo, you’re golden.

  • Lavazza

    Guardia: “The kind of women who complain about the absence of men are the kind of women who complain about the presence of men. Complaining women are a form of Man Repellant. This is an important clue as to why these women are dateless.

    If they want dates, these whiny women need to stop bitching, get a positive attitude about life, and do what makes them happy. They won’t need to look for men. We men will find them.”

    Good stuff.

  • GudEnuf

    Assuming you are serious here (last time I checked only one gender sported cajones) I can only imagine two possibilities:
    1. You’ve been abducted and set to gender neutral reeducation camp.
    2. You’re hooking up with an ardent feminist.

    The problem is that approaching an attractive woman doesn’t take “cajones”; it takes courage. And courage is something both sexes have. Using testicles as a metaphor for courage is sexist because it reaffirms the stereotype that courage is a “manly” virtue.

    Do you agree that the first woman is prettier than the second? Do you agree that the second looks like a “bad girl?” Do you agree that men may be more motivated to message a bad girl?

    You’re cherry picking. This woman is as “good girl” as they come, but still gets more messages than Ms. Carol. The study looked at 43,000 women, and a comparison of two photos won’t get us far. To claim that “The second woman gets plenty of zeroes, but more ratings of ‘hot.'” ignores the fact that OKT had specifically controlled for this theory before offering their Carol 2.0 theory.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      courage is something both sexes have. Using testicles as a metaphor for courage is sexist because it reaffirms the stereotype that courage is a “manly” virtue.

      Courage, also known as bravery, fortitude, will, and intrepidity, is the ability to confront fear, pain, risk/danger, uncertainty, or intimidation. (Wikipedia)
      Both sexes may possess this trait, but throughout history, it is men who have been asked to display it. That is still true today, as American women are excluded from combat, working in mines, on oil rigs, etc. Women police display courage, and I’d argue that every woman who goes through childbirth needs it. But there is good reason why it is known as a manly virtue. Finally, in this context, the courage to approach for a date has always been required of men. Men display, women select. (It’s biological, b/c eggs are rare, sperm is not.)
      .

      The study looked at 43,000 women, and a comparison of two photos won’t get us far.

      True, but OKCupid chose just a few to display in the article. In the graph showing eight women, in order of success, I found the first four pretty and wholesome, while the last four all exhibited sexual cues – bed hair, colored hair, heavy makeup, etc.
      .
      As I said in the post, OKC and I came to the same conclusion re the Carol Syndrome. Not sure why you keep suggesting we’re on different pages.

  • GudEnuf

    I can’t hotlink images. This woman is the “good girl” I referred to.

  • Christi

    @Timothy Webster

    I would date early 30s. I am 25. Old man status for me is anything older than mid 30s.

    @Plain Jane

    It’s odd how that shift happened for you. I haven’t really done any interracial dating. But I just think the nice good guys that don’t approach me are shyer than the douches that do.

    I know a lot of you are saying that girls need to be more assertive. Maybe we do. It’s just really hard. At least for me. I mostly let the guy do all of the chasing–initiate contact, then dates, phone calls etc… I do respond in a receptive manner though. When a guy that I like approaches me, I certain respond well. I smile and flirt. I don’t really know how I would go about being more assertive. Any one care to get literal?

  • Christi

    on second though, I went on a date last month with a guy who was 35. It was great. But he had too much baggage (had an ex wife), so I nipped it in the bud. So maybe I should say that my line is drawn at late 30s rather than mid 30s.

  • Sox

    I’m more likely to hit on the hottest girl in the group, that’s always been my preference. I hear all these stories of attractive women getting ignored by intimidated men but I’ve never witnessed it in real life. The times I have seen it happen, they were simply unapproachable, wearing a scowl or shooting down all subtle advances perhaps unknowingly.

    Guys have a huge range of types they approach and hit on, and they usually go for the hottest gi they can get IOIs/see approachability from.

    Also, a lot of hot female friends of mine have often been consciously, subconciously, or selectively oblivious when it comes to getting attention. I’ll notice and right away and they’ll feign ignorance. Whether it’s intentional or not it becomes evident that they only notice when it’s a guy in their preferred range (7/8+). I see this as the same as women refusing to see “friendly guys” as angling to try n get in their pants like any other – plausible deniability. They don’t want to be responsible for rejecting the guy. It’s understandable and I’m sure I’d face the same dilemma.

    Gotta say that I find the first chick much more attractive. Dunno whats up with that. Also, I’ve been on OKC before and I’ve noticed that most people don’t give out uniform ratings below a 4-5 (which sends an email notifying the person). Anything under 4 is really all the same.

  • Sox

    Wrote that last from my phone, apologies for the disjointed bits.

  • Lavazza

    Christi: If prior commitment gone bad is a deal breaker I guess that guys have every reason to avoid commitment. Women seem to understand that they will fuck up a guy beyond repair once he is committed. Unhurt and uncautious is a rather small window, especially in combination with the other stuff on the list.

  • http://stuartschneiderman.blogspot.com Stuart Schneiderman

    Great post, Susan. I like the way you are using game theory to study the dating and mating world.
    A word or two about the two pictures of the two women. Clearly, the first woman is better looking than the second. I would not presume to be able to suss out all the factors that influence choice here, but I would note that the first woman is pictured with a hand on her right shoulder. This seems to suggest that she belongs to someone, and perhaps this is why she is less approachable. In her picture she seems surrounded by men… you can see a man’s smile in the upper right corner. Again, this suggests unavailable. For what it’s worth, the first woman is not only better looking; she seems more clearly to be relationship material. The second woman, with the artificially colored hair and the strange eye makeup is clearly looking not looking for a relationship. She seems to be more looking to party, with few strings attached. Call me old fashioned, but the question of relationship material is the question of whether or not a man would introduce her to his mother. A man would certainly introduce the first woman, but probably not the second.
    I would also point out, strangely enough, that the first, more beautiful woman, is not only surrounded by men, but, she seems to be wearing a strapless gown of some sort. In other terms, we do not know what she is wearing, or even whether she is wearing anything. Surrounded by men… underdressed… not exactly a sign of availability. With the second woman we do see a trace of her top.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Stuart
      Thanks for articulating some things that I was also thinking as I looked at the pictures. I wasn’t sure how much these various telltale “clues” might mean to men in terms of approaching. I did pick up on the sexuality of some of the photos, and also how they contain more direct eye contact. They remind me of actors’ headshots – the gazing eyes are meant to directly communicate interest to the viewer. I know there are people who make their living consulting on how to present the best online dating photo and profile – now I can see why.

  • Lavazza

    Here’s a good part of the explanation for the topics discussed here:

    ” … The means/end paradox occurs when two people are caught in a dynamic where means-based person is accruing losses, or psychic sunk costs, through an interaction, while the end-based person is maximizing wins through that exact same interaction. Thanks to the principle of loss aversion, the means-based person becomes more heavily invested and winds up in a sunk cost trap. And the end-based person becomes less invested because he’s only been accruing psychic gains the whole time. As a result, the means-based person will usually have more trouble walking away from the relationship and being more tempted to invest more resources than the end-based person. …”

    The whole post is worth quoting, so I will give your this just as an appertizer.

    http://therawness.com/raw-concepts-means/

  • VI

    The sad part about this is that strong bidders hold out until their fertility is about to hit the wall. If they don’t settle down by that point, they just become cougars. Hot cougars, but cougars nonetheless. Most men want to reproduce, especially desirable men with high T. That’s why even hot cougars have a hard time finding a decent man.

    I will probably settle down in my early 30s with a 20-something, while my female peers will be getting pumped and dumped by men who have no interest in a childless marriage.

  • http://photoncourier.blogspot.com david foster

    Another business analogy that may be relevant is The Winner’s Curse. This can be seen in mergers & acquisitions when the corporate mating instinct becomes so strong that one company becomes emotionally over-invested in pursuing its target, and winds up paying so much for it that once the dreamed-of acquisition finally occurs, it will be almost impossible to make it profitable.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @david foster
      I was thinking about The Winner’s Curse recently when I heard that Google was offering huge bucks for Groupon. Many think the Groupon business model is not sustainable. I listened to a lecture by a Wharton prof recently where he claims it doesn’t create any new customers, just shifts them around on a board. He likened it to a Ponzi scheme. I figured Google must know something that we don’t, and Groupon rejected their advances, of course. I do wonder about the emotional investment on both sides.

  • Anonymous

    @ Christi
    “At least for me. I mostly let the guy do all of the chasing–initiate contact, then dates, phone calls etc… I do respond in a receptive manner though. When a guy that I like approaches me, I certain respond well. I smile and flirt. I don’t really know how I would go about being more assertive. Any one care to get literal?”

    Initiate contact yourself. It doesn’t even have to be with a specific guy you’re hitting on, but can be with a group of guys. For example, if you have a class right before lunch, and you’be chatted with the people in your row

  • Anonymous

    Oops, didn’t mean to hit submit yet.

    For example, if you have a class right before lunch, and you’ve chatted with the people in your row before, see if all/any of them want to go grab some lunch afterward. It’s casual and easy. Convenient too.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Anon
      This is a great idea! Approaching a group, and saying, “Anyone want to get lunch?” is great. Depending on who accepts, you might make a friend, or kindle an attraction. You’ll be viewed as someone open and friendly, not entitled and picky. Of course, it’s important to manage one’s expectations – you may need to do quite a bit of this before meeting someone to date. But I’m a big fan of making friends everywhere you can – meeting friends of friends is the 4th most common way that married people meet.

  • Geoff

    @Stuart Schneiderman,
    “I would not presume to be able to suss out all the factors that influence choice here…”
    .
    I would.
    .
    To you guys who see no difference in the photos, or worse, find the second woman more attractive than the first, let me clarify the situation:

    1. The upper girl has long, lustrous, obviously healthy hair. The lower girl has some weird-ass off-pink color from a can to draw attention to herself cuz her face ain’t getting the job done.
    2. The face of the upper girl appears very symmetrical. The lower girl could be a longer-faced version of a Japanese cartoon character.
    3. The upper girl is smiling and appears open to your approach. The lower girl looks like she’s about to bargain for a better price from her meth dealer.
    4. The upper girl has a photo taken from a position of balance. The lower girl’s photo is taken at an odd angle, which every guy knows is supposed to make us think she’s “edgy and cool” but really means she took the photo herself because she has no friends.
    5. The upper girl has glowing, healthy, supple skin. The lower girl’s skin is…er…I’m not even going to look cuz I’m still looking at the upper girl.
    .
    In short, argue what you will about the Carol theory, but the upper girl is light-years beyond the lower girl in looks. Upper girl is a solid 7 at worst and maybe an 8 depending on the body. The lower girl is, at BEST, a 5. With beer goggles.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Geoff

      In short, argue what you will about the Carol theory, but the upper girl is light-years beyond the lower girl in looks. Upper girl is a solid 7 at worst and maybe an 8 depending on the body. The lower girl is, at BEST, a 5. With beer goggles.

      Exactly! I agree with your analysis of these two women. The upper one looks kinda like Jennifer Garner, IMO. So why does the less attractive one get twice as much attention? If the Carol Syndrome doesn’t explain it, what does? Why is the lower girl getting high ratings and lots of messages? Is my theory correct that it is precisely the fact that she looks edgy, sexy, and like an anime?

  • http://stuartschneiderman.blogspot.com Stuart Schneiderman

    Thanks for adding some interesting speculation, Geoff. We all agree that the first woman is much more attractive than the second. Still and all, the question was: why is the less attractive woman getting more attention than the more attractive one? That’s what I was trying to evaluate.

  • Mike C

    @ Christi
    .
    on second though, I went on a date last month with a guy who was 35. It was great. But he had too much baggage (had an ex wife), so I nipped it in the bud.
    .
    You don’t mention if he had kids. Does he have kids? If not, is the ex-wife still actively involved in his life in some way? If there are no kids, and the ex-wife is totally out of the picture, I’m curious as to what “baggage” you think he has.
    .
    Obviously, a person has the right to end or choose not to continue a personal involvement with someone for whatever reason they consider important, but this would be one that seems quite arbitrary assuming no connection to the ex-wife at all or children. I’ll admit I bring personal bias to this as I am divorced (but no kids). At the risk of sounding cocky, fact of the matter is, my current GF would have made a huge mistake had she disqualified me initially because I had been married previously.

  • Timothy Webster

    @Christi

    Yep, I encounter that too; “You had an ex-wife? Ewww!” So if I’m not an “old man”, then I’m ruled out by the non-sluts. Doesn’t matter I struggled for 10 years to make it work.

    I mean, I keep my dick to myself, but the girls that treat me the NICEST, are quite slutty, even a few crack whores. Probably because there’s no sexual tension between us. They’re off getting theirs taken care of when and where they want.

  • Mike C

    Regarding “guys who know their place in the Universe” – they don’t hit on 10s but they don’t hit on their equals either. They WANT the 10s. They DON’T want their equals. Hence they end up with nobody. I have dozens of examples of this in the lives of the men around me.
    .
    Of course they WANT the 10s, just like the average girls would still WANT tall, dark, handsome, socially dominant, and charming.
    .
    Regarding the point about not hitting on their equals, and ending up with nobody, I think there is something else going on here. I can’t quantify the exact impact, but it is the elephant in the room on this point. I think many of these guys are essentially substituting porn for real woman sexual relationships (probably a lot more David Alexanders out there then one would guess). Check Google for the top 10 traffic websites. Different guys probably have different preference shifts, but a virtual 8-10 beats a 4-5 that is going to take a lot of time and effort. On one level, that is sad, but I really think it is accurate to some degree. Back when I was actively studying Game and reading the websites, I remember encountering more than once the advice to guys to stop masturbating to porn to try and boost the motivation to go out and approach girls. The “dozens of examples” you mention….I’d wager a good chunk of them have pretty sizable porn collections.

  • Frankie

    Plain Jane said: “Regarding “guys who know their place in the Universe” – they don’t hit on 10s but they don’t hit on their equals either. They WANT the 10s. They DON’T want their equals. Hence they end up with nobody. I have dozens of examples of this in the lives of the men around me.”

    Hi Jane. Please do not assume all picky men and women really want (or should want) to marry at all costs. Many come to the conclusion that living alone is more rewarding than lowering their standards, depending on how far they would have to lower them. The same process applies equally to both sexes.

    I am a 47 year old man, Never married. Never been in love. Not gay. Short and butt ugly. Good career I enjoy. I could never interest any decent looking women. Only women as unattractive as me would ever have anything to do with me datewise. I spent over fifteen years being frustrated. I’m glad that period of my life, at least regarding the romantic side, is long past me. I have no intention of marrying and living with a woman of similar attractiveness.

    I have never felt “entitled” to a woman better looking than me. I have never felt a victim of anything. I am happy being single and comfortable with my situation. I have so many other things to be thankful for in my life. I have built a happy life around this because I knew from an early age (at mid 20s) that I would likely be a lifelong bachelor.

    This problem only becomes a real problem when someone feels cheated because of their situation and the choices they make as a result and then they let that frustration ruin other parts of their life. It’s ok not to settle, but it is not ok to blame someone else, or the system, for the consequences of your choices.

    If I felt bitter about being alone (alone I am, but almost never lonely), then my only moral option would be to lower my standards (in my case, really lower them) in order to end my bachelorhood, and force myself to like it. So far, I am anything but bitter about this.

  • pjay

    *
    @Timothy Webster:

    Where on earth do you hang out? Nice slutty crack whores?

  • Geoff

    @Stuart,
    – I commented earlier that I simply don’t believe the premise. Hot girls get hit on all the time, but maybe they don’t see it that way/notice since betas are invisible to them. The data associated with the study is self-reported and is nothing more than a theory to explain a problem that frankly, I don’t think exists. Would love someone to do a scientific study of the Carol system that involves control for other variables. Don’t see that it’s been done yet.
    .
    @Mike C,
    Sounds like you’re ok in your situation now, but to men who’ve been married but were honorable? Don’t trust women to make a reasonable/logical decision that you having been married and showed fidelity indicates you’re valuable–pop culture (which is filth) has told them you’re used up/a bad gamble. So just keep it to yourself unless you have kids. She doesn’t need to know.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      The data associated with the study is self-reported and is nothing more than a theory to explain a problem that frankly, I don’t think exists.

      No, it’s not. OKCupid knows exactly how many of its members send and receive messages, and to whom. If you read the original article that I linked to, you’ll see that they were scratching their heads as this happened again and again. It was incredibly significant, statistically. They’re not even sure of the explanation for the paradox, but the phenomenon is not in question.

  • Mike C

    Sounds like you’re ok in your situation now, but to men who’ve been married but were honorable? Don’t trust women to make a reasonable/logical decision that you having been married and showed fidelity indicates you’re valuable–pop culture (which is filth) has told them you’re used up/a bad gamble. So just keep it to yourself unless you have kids. She doesn’t need to know.
    .
    Oh yeah, I’m good. I wasn’t asking for my own personal situation, but more as a thought experiment for Christy to ponder. Generally speaking, I think women have a tendency to “screen out” men for all sorts of reasons, many of which border from probably not important to the completely ludicrous (his shoes and belt didn’t match), and then in the very next breath bemoan not being in a relationship and asking “where have all the good men” gone.
    .
    I’m really not trying to pick on Christy, but if you had a “great” date with someone, it seems strange to me not to follow up with another date just because he was married before, but again whether or not kids are in the picture are the key determinant because that represents a financial obligation and a tie to the ex-wife forever. No kids though, no connection. Since my divorce, I’ve seen and spoken to my ex-wife 1 time by sheer accidental coincidence. I’m just curious what type of “baggage” someone thinks is there. From a certain perspective, WE ALL BRING BAGGAGE FROM ALL OF OUR PREVIOUS HUMAN RELATIONSHIPS in the sense that they shape our views and influence our behavior.

  • Mike C

    @ Susan,

    New filter or policy or something? This is the first time I have ever seen a comment of mine say “awaiting moderation”

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Mike C
      I’ve been having trouble with some of my plugins, which has taken the site down a few times in recent days. I had to remove my “whitelist” plugin, and the wordpress system is random about putting comments into moderation. I have truly never broken the code. I’ll try reactivating that plugin – fingers crossed.

  • Tom

    In a recent post I asked why difficult, demanding women who put out get boyfriends. (Hint: the qualifier at the end is the kicker.) Several guys commented that it’s because bitches and sluts try harder. They’re making their interest known, signaling their availability, driving down the risk of rejection for the male. They also consider them more feminine and attractive. But why? The most attractive women don’t have to be sluts. Or do they?
    ____________________
    One of the problems with attractive women and promiscuous behavior is a lot of time it is the mens behavior that drive the attractive womens number up. . A good looking woman is just as likely to be fooled by the clever and polished lines of a player as a less attractive lady. She may have good intentions, is duped by a players confidence and alpha like attributes and sleeps with him thinking it will hook him. But alas, it doesnt. While she is thinking, “what happened?” he is thinking ,”next.”…No wonder women of experience have learned to not trust men. Attractive women too have a tough time seprating the good guys from the players. Attractive women can be a bit more choosey, but that does not mean they have the life skills to choose wisely.

  • Tom

    @mike
    you said “Obviously, a person has the right to end or choose not to continue a personal involvement with someone for whatever reason they consider important, but this would be one that seems quite arbitrary assuming no connection to the ex-wife at all or children. I’ll admit I bring personal bias to this as I am divorced (but no kids). At the risk of sounding cocky, fact of the matter is, my current GF would have made a huge mistake had she disqualified me initially because I had been married previously.
    __________________
    Mike maybe she sees a man who has been married as a bad relationship bet. Or maybe she wouldnt be able to get the thought of you making love to another woman hunderds or maybe thousands of times out of her head.(rational or not)?
    That is the same premise I made a while ago about promiscuous women. They are not all the same and are not all promiscuous for the same reasons.
    Ofcourse this example is partially tongue in cheek, that woman very well may have missed out on a geat guy (you) but some divorced men do carry baggage even though there are no kids and the ex is not of the picture.

  • Mike C

    Mike maybe she sees a man who has been married as a bad relationship bet. Or maybe she wouldnt be able to get the thought of you making love to another woman hunderds or maybe thousands of times out of her head.(rational or not)?
    .
    Haha, good one! Although I doubt the latter comes into play. It would be interesting to see the divorce statistics on second marriages versus first marriages. That very well may be true. It is what it is though. I never did and never would lie about being married unlike many highly promiscuous women.
    .
    But again, when you criteria A, B, C, D, E, F, X, Y, Z pretty soon you’ve excluded 99% of the men out there as eligible partners. Clearly, this effect does occur otherwise books like “Marry Him” wouldn’t even get published. Like I said though, it is women that you see en masse asking “why can’t I get a boyfriend”, “where are all the marriageable guys”, and then turning around and saying “forget that one, his shirt doesn’t match his pants”
    .
    So I don’t object to anyone screening on whatever criteria, they want, just be cognizant of the mathematical reality that you are shrinking the pool smaller and smaller and smaller and smaller everytime you add one more factor to the mix

  • AnonymousF

    @Mike C

    “Obviously, a person has the right to end or choose not to continue a personal involvement with someone for whatever reason they consider important, but this would be one that seems quite arbitrary assuming no connection to the ex-wife at all or children. I’ll admit I bring personal bias to this as I am divorced (but no kids). At the risk of sounding cocky, fact of the matter is, my current GF would have made a huge mistake had she disqualified me initially because I had been married previously.”

    It’s not arbitrary at all. All other things being equal, people who have married and divorced are viewed as a “worse bet” than never-married people, at least when under age 35 or so (later it gets more complicated). It’s true that in specific circumstances, a divorced person may not be a worse bet than a single one (no kids, not paying alimony, no co-owned assets, no connection to the ex or ex-in-laws, no permanent emotional trauma or hangups). But it costs time and effort to verify the person’s situation, especially since you can’t really take their word for it. A lot of people just plain lie about such things, and even well-intentioned people delude themselves. And since the “investigation” would take place in the course of a dating relationship, the woman will probably be getting more and more emotionally attached to the guy in the meantime.

    I would advise a woman with few options to make the effort to dig in, get involved and investigate, because she may otherwise miss out on what might’ve been her only chance for a great guy. But for a woman with options, it’ s just not worth the hassle when there are other good guys who haven’t been married before. I wouldn’t have bothered when I was single in my early and mid 20’s, and even now in my late 20’s I probably still wouldn’t (if I somehow became single again). I don’t think most of my single guy friends would either.

  • GudEnuf

    And again, I’m not talking about “hired guns” here – sure, a hot slut promiscuous woman in a bar gets hit on all the time.

    This is probably due to the fact that men think promiscuous women have lower standards. In reality, some women are willing to have sex quickly, but they don’t want to have sex with just anybody.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      a hot slut promiscuous woman

      So now you’re putting a word off limits that is embraced by sex-positive feminists, e.g. My Sluthood, Myself? Do I need to remind you that slut shaming is an expression coined by feminists? Who is she, GudEnuf? You really have drunk the Kool Aid, haha. She must be a Women’s Studies major.

  • John G

    Whenever I see numbers, percentages, and the like thrown around, I always think of the old college football coach who never passed the football. Interviewers would ask him why he never passed. He would reply, “One of three things can happen and two of them are bad.”

    Sometimes it’s just a numbers game. Sometimes, it’s Occam’s razor. Sometimes, it’s the other person and it has nothing to do with you. Sometimes, you are having a bad day. Someitmes it’s risk -v- reward.

    If you pay any attention to the concealed carry community (private citizens carrying firearms), they have what are called ‘caliber wars’ in that they insist that caliber ‘X’ is the best due to factors X, Y, and Z. When it comes to concealed carry and self defense, the most important thing is stopping the threat. How best to do that? People get so focused in on that, and the tiny role that caliber plays because that is the only variable that they can measure and control. In a gun fight, physical environment, time of day, the mental and physical capacities of the aggressor and defender, their martial training, and the condition of the weapons used are more important than caliber.

    Chatting someone up/asking them out isn’t a gun fight. I know this, I used it as an example.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @John G
      Welcome. I agree that we would be unwise to take any of these numbers, or theories, as gospel truth. What I found interesting about these examples of game theory is that it questions the role of psychology, risk aversion, and expected benefits in dating. In these examples, the least risk averse people are more likely to be successful. It fits in with my general message about being proactive and taking the initiative, especially for women.

  • GudEnuf

    So now you’re putting a word off limits that is embraced by sex-positive feminists, e.g. My Sluthood, Myself? Do I need to remind you that slut shaming is an expression coined by feminists? Who is she, GudEnuf? You really have drunk the Kool Aid, haha. She must be a Women’s Studies major.

    Your not using the s-word in the way sex-positive feminists do. They are reclaiming it, you are un-reclaiming it.

    I bet you think it’s racist that white people can’t use the n-word, hmmm?

  • Plain Jane

    1. Matt T says:
    January 26, 2011 at 3:07 am
    @Plain Jane: “Many guys will screw anything with a pulse, but even they have some sense of honor and pride. Everyone wants a girlfriend they can be seen in public with.

    *** Matt T, are you saying that a male 5 is embarrassed to be seen with a female 5 in public?!? If so, that is ridiculous. Like I said, many men pass up women at their own level (not lower), while pining for women several points above them. Its unrealistic.
    _______________________________

    2. Geoff says:
    January 26, 2011 at 3:33 am
    @Plain Jane,
    “Why do men have to be your own age? Unless you’re 28 or older, men your age are total horndogs who can’t be trusted…………As for dating interracially–that could be problematic for the kids, presuming you want some. Just sayin.”

    ***Geoff, When I say “older” I meant men who are MORE than 10 years older than me. Like Susan said, for many people 10 years is the max they will go. I’m one of those people.
    As far as interracial being “problematic” for my future kids – I know several mixed kids and they are doing just fine. Splendidly, in fact.
    ___________________________________

    3. Timothy Webster says:
    January 26, 2011 at 3:52 am
    That’s the problem. Two of you women now have admitted to ruling out “older” men. I’m in my early thirties, but I was relegated to “older man” status years ago. And I resent it. I’ve just hit my prime of strength, intelligence, and attractiveness.

    *** Timothy, by older I meant WAY older – more than 10 years. If you are in your early 30s I don’t see why any woman in her late 20s should relegate you to “older man status”. Now, if you are hoping to land an early 20s college student, that’s another matter. But a 28 year old working woman should realize that an early 30s man is well within her own age range.

  • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

    Your not using the s-word in the way sex-positive feminists do. They are reclaiming it, you are un-reclaiming it.
    I bet you think it’s racist that white people can’t use the n-word, hmmm?

    .
    Certainly not. Racism is prejudice based on innate differences, not actions. Sluthood is a chosen way of life, a choice that affects all women. If women don’t want to be called sluts, they know what to do. They might start by taking off the shorts that say SLUT across the back.

  • Passer_By

    A couple thoughts

    I. On the Eligible Bachelor paradox, I often marvel at how people go to great lengths to explain what can easily be explained by female hypergamy. I know hypergamy is overemphasized at times, and I think the 80/20 rule is an exaggeration outside of the hookup/ONS context, but I think it’s fair to say that men simply view a larger percentage of women as desirable than women do men. For convenience, let’s say it’s really a 70/35 rule, or 70/40 or whatever (acknowledging that this oversimplifies things because obviously the ones at the top of the 35 are more desirable than those at the bottom). Now suppose that a majority of those in the desirable male group get married to a like number of women from the desirable femal group. It doesn’t take a mathematical genius to figure out that removing a majority of these men with 1 to 1 pairings will greatly distort the ratio for those that remain. In other words, suppose we remove 25 from each of the 70 and and the 35. This leaves a 45/10 ratio. So, there ya go.

    I don’t doubt that the game theory they describe might have some bearing, but hypergramy (coupled with removal of the desirable males in monogomous pairings) is probably the dominant force here.

    II. Carol.

    The main problem with this is that it assumes that the failure to approach is driven by some rational cost benefit analysis, rather than from an inexplicable discomfort and nervousness driven by more primitive phobias. It also assumes that carol is sending off the same indicators of interest/disinterest as women who are approached more. Maybe carol simply sends off indicators of disinterest out of instinctive habit (or habits developed early on). Most reasonable men instinctively assume disinterest on the part of an attractive woman, so if she backs that up with IODs, it’s not so surprising that men don’t approach.

    III. OK Cupid

    I don’t date at all, so I don’t date online, but I’ve looked at the sites on a few occasions when helping and/or evaluating for a friend. From what I’ve seen, a lot of women seem compelled to write bios that suggest they think are they are better than almost anyone who might message them and that whoever messages them better be prepared to prove himself. I have no idea if the first woman is like that. But if her profile suggests (usually implicitly, but sometimes explicitly) that she views herself as being of such high value that only super high value men should apply, it would explain the difference. This is similar to the observation that girl number 2 may appear “easier”, but goes a little deeper in that “easier” can mean more than simply being a quick lay. It can also mean appearing to appreciate real life men rather than prince charming fantasies that can jet set them around the globe on a full time basis.

    Also, there would appear to be an age difference between the two, and I’m not sure whether that might be impacting the raw numbers (i.e., maybe younger guys message more, maybe a lot of older guys still try for younger women, or some combination).

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Passer By
      All good thoughts. I interpreted the Eligible Bachelor Paradox as being specifically attributable to female hypergamy. That is, the strong bidders, wanting a man even higher than themselves, i.e. pretty damn near perfect, lose out entirely, passing over quite attractive men due to unrealistic expectations. Meanwhile, the hypergamous weak bidders are free to snap up the passed over men, who are often more attractive than they are.
      .
      I agree that IRL it’s unlikely that Carol will get zero attention, with each man independently calculating that his best outcome occurs if he does nothing. Personality traits, such as risk-aversion, would certainly play a role. So would life events – a guy who’s just been dumped may be willing to risk it just to start his necessary program of FTOW, for example.
      .
      It’s very true that we know nothing about the women in the photos. OKCupid does some very interesting statistical analyses, but in truth there are many factors on any profile that are simply not possible to control for objectively.

  • GudEnuf

    “Women can stop being called sluts if they stop having casual sex.”

    This is like saying “black people can stop being called uppity n-groes if they stop trying to run for president.”

    The fact that a woman’s choices affect what labels she gets does not mean those labels are not sexist. A man doesn’t have to choose between having casual sex and avoiding the slut label. Neither should a woman.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      A man doesn’t have to choose between having casual sex and avoiding the slut label. Neither should a woman

      Promiscuity is defined as “indiscriminate in the choice of sexual partners.” Men can be called sluts, and often are. The only difference is, they appreciate the label. Like all true feminists, you are focusing on what should happen between the sexes. You’re complaining about the double standard being unfair. This is a dead end, as nearly 50 years of feminism and consequent female promiscuity has not changed men’s feelings about the issue, with the exception of a small percentage of men such as yourself who view female promiscuity as a valuable opportunity to acquire sexual skills (recalling your recently stated preference for women with more experience).
      .
      If this was not biologically driven, women would not be lying about their sexual experience even as they decry the double standard.

  • Geoff

    @Susan,
    “Exactly! I agree with your analysis of these two women. The upper one looks kinda like Jennifer Garner, IMO. So why does the less attractive one get twice as much attention? If the Carol Syndrome doesn’t explain it, what does? Why is the lower girl getting high ratings and lots of messages? Is my theory correct that it is precisely the fact that she looks edgy, sexy, and like an anime?”
    .
    1. NO SUCH THING AS CAROL EFFECT: First, I think OKC is not even close to defining a problem in anything approaching the scientific method. And based on my experience with other alphas, and a lot of them, I think this whole problem isn’t real.
    .
    2. SEX OR MARRIAGE? I always like to remind everyone that getting laid and searching for a mate are, at least for men, COMPLETELY opposite things. Like 180 degrees off each other.
    .
    2.A. SEX: Even if I concede there’s a “Carol Effect” for the sake of argument, it could be the less hot slutty girl seems easier to nail than a pretty attractive chick (your upper photo) who may or may not have religious morals and/or love her father and fear disappointing him by sleeping around. Easy “good enough” sex that’s pretty likely always trumps amazing sex that’s gonna be work. Or, “one Pizza Hut pizza ordered over the phone > a delicious pizza but I have to make from scratch.”
    .
    2.B. MARRIAGE: If word gets out that Carol is “saving herself for marriage”, then young bull alphas only after sex will swoop in and quickly swoop away after bouncing off her virginity shield–BUT I’d hazard that ALL men in her area who have decided they want a wife (alphas, betas, deltas, sigmas–Vox Day’s definitions) will beat her door down, stab competitors in the back and/or eyeballs, kidney punch their buddy, and otherwise do whatever is necessary to lock up the contract. Trust me.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Geoff
      OK, I’ll trust that. I hope it’s true, because it really doesn’t make any sense for that woman to lack male attention.

  • Wayfinder

    They might start by taking off the shorts that say SLUT across the back.

    I thought the problem was that they were already taking their shorts off?

    /ducks

    A man doesn’t have to choose between having casual sex and avoiding the slut label.

    Eh. You’ll get a bunch of people arguing with you over the whys and hows of that. I’m going to take a different tack and say that encouraging the women to descend to the level of the man-whore players is not exactly a good idea. If all the men jump off a cliff, you would too?

  • Geoff

    @Susan,
    No, it’s not. OKCupid knows exactly how many of its members send and receive messages, and to whom. If you read the original article that I linked to, you’ll see that they were scratching their heads as this happened again and again. It was incredibly significant, statistically. They’re not even sure of the explanation for the paradox, but the phenomenon is not in question.”
    .
    1. The “phenomenon” is completely contained within the OKC universe of subscribers. Not representative of U.S. population. In that regard, it’s as meaningless as a political poll that queries the public at large, when “likely voter” is the only sub-population that matters.
    .
    2. No way to know how many men within OKC are looking for marriage or sex. Skews the sample, depending on what you’re measuring for.
    .
    3. This “phenomenon” is an attention-getter for OKC. Free publicity. Doesn’t mean the whole thing is cooked up, doesn’t mean it isn’t. But color me suspicious.

  • John G

    Hi Susan;

    Sure. I agree, that being the ‘weak bidder’ is way to go. I also agree about the variances in what is considered attractive and how that changes who approaches and their value in relation to the other.
    I’m still having a hard time with the whole “Carol Syndrome” thing. I’ve read a lot of articles about the lonely beautiful women crisis and I’m having a hard time believing it. That’s my problem though.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      I’ve read a lot of articles about the lonely beautiful women crisis and I’m having a hard time believing it. That’s my problem though.

      Well, I’m not sure what to believe either, and I’m pretty interested in figuring it out. I don’t know a bunch of 10s, but I’ve known a few, and they aren’t as sought after as I would expect. However, what I don’t know is what kind of signals they send out, even unconsciously. Nor do I know how choosy they are. I do know, and I’ve said here before, several women who walk through a crowd looking straight ahead because they get so uncomfortable being stared at. A woman who does not seek the limelight, or enjoy being the center of attention – an introvert, say – will not enjoy being ogled. In not looking from side to side, not even seeing the friendly smiles, appreciative glances, etc., it may be that they are perceived as “stuck up” and unfriendly. I don’t know, it’s all conjecture on my part. I do hear from some women (with photo) that feel ignored, and sometimes I can’t believe it based on their looks. But perhaps there is something else going on.
      .
      I will say that it makes sense to me that if 80% of the men are feeling like “have nots” in this SMP, they’re probably not going to approach women they don’t know. A guy who’s never had a gf, or has little sexual experience is not going to feel comfortable hitting on chicks, it seems to me.

  • Wayfinder

    They might start by taking off the shorts that say SLUT across the back.

    I thought the problem was that they were already taking them off?

    /ducks

    A man doesn’t have to choose between having casual sex and avoiding the slut label. Neither should a woman.

    Eh. You’re going to get a bunch of people arguing you about the whys and wherefores of that. I’m going to take a different tack and say that telling me that you want to sink to the level of the man-whore players without consequences isn’t really helping your case. If all the men jump off a cliff, you would too?

    Look, if a woman doesn’t care about a relationship and will never care then casual sex won’t hurt her in that sense. But the evidence is that the vast majority of young women want relationships, if not today then someday, and it’s not in their best interest to pretend that they won’t get hurt.

  • terre

    As a man, the only decent explanation I’ve seen in this entire thread is that the first chick is surrounded by a bunch of men and looks somewhat uptight. I’m not really surprised that a youth-oriented dating site is geared towards, well, youths, and not professionals looking for marriage. Even then, I’d basically be put off by the first chick’s leading photo alone.

  • Plain Jane

    “A man doesn’t have to choose between having casual sex and avoiding the slut label. Neither should a woman.”
    During a previous era, maybe, but now he DOES. It has to do with STDs and the fact that more and more women, and other men, are calling out “man-hos”.

  • Plain Jane

    I find it odd that a few people have said the woman in the first pic looks “uptight”.

    For goodness sake – she looks NAKED!

  • Passer_By

    @susan
    “All good thoughts. I interpreted the Eligible Bachelor Paradox as being specifically attributable to female hypergamy. That is, the strong bidders, wanting a man even higher than themselves, i.e. pretty damn near perfect, lose out entirely, passing over quite attractive men due to unrealistic expectations. Meanwhile, the hypergamous weak bidders are free to snap up the passed over men, who are often more attractive than they are.”

    Well, fair enough. But I think the original author is (and to some extent you may implicitly be) assuming equal sized pools of men and women to being with, and then explains the outcome due to behavior (bidding) by some women that might be described as hypergamous. He then seems to arrive at the paradox by assuming weak bidders (less attractive women) took away a large number of attractive men, leaving only a handful of the attractive men for a larger remaining pool of attractive women. But I dont’ think you can really get all the way to the paradox that way. I think it’s more explainable by differering size pools initially, which become wildly different in size as you pull out a majority of the men in monogomous pairings.

  • terre

    It’s something in her face. I don’t mean sexually uptight, I mean like some kind of high strung urban socialite with about five congealed layers of ice surrounding her heart.

  • Passer_By

    @susan:

    “A guy who’s never had a gf, or has little sexual experience is not going to feel comfortable hitting on chicks, it seems to me.”

    Uhh, I don’t that’s limited to guys who have never had girlfriends or no sexual experience. Other than a couple of months here or there, I’ve been in one relationship or another since I was 16 (and I’m now older than I care to admit). Yet, if I were single, I would be terrified of a cold approach.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      Uhh, I don’t that’s limited to guys who have never had girlfriends or no sexual experience. Other than a couple of months here or there, I’ve been in one relationship or another since I was 16 (and I’m now older than I care to admit). Yet, if I were single, I would be terrified of a cold approach.

      OK, then, the Carol Syndrome doesn’t seem so completely farfetched. I’m trying to imagine having the nerve to approach a stranger in a Starbucks, basically saying, “Hey, you’re attractive, let’s go out.” I can’t even begin to imagine that. How much easier it would always be to not make the move, to tell myself I probably saved myself humiliation as I realized they were married, or even a parent! Honestly, I feel for guys here. Even as I encourage women to smile in an open and friendly way, make eye contact, etc. I know that the onus is still going to be on the guy to walk over and lay it out there. Signals obviously help, but we women don’t really stop and consider how difficult this really is.

  • Wayfinder

    And now, instead of being told I’m being moderated, my posts vanish into the ether, only to reappear later (presumably when moderated).

    I think it’s worth noting that as a man I have absolutely no evidence as to the experience of a female 10, just as most women have no evidence of the experience of the 80% of men. Even if we wanted to, it’d be difficult to observe each other directly.

  • Wayfinder

    Eh. That time it seemed to work.

  • Geoff

    @Plain Jane says:
    “A man doesn’t have to choose between having casual sex and avoiding the slut label. Neither should a woman.”
    During a previous era, maybe, but now he DOES. It has to do with STDs and the fact that more and more women, and other men, are calling out “man-hos”.
    .
    I like you PJ. You make me laugh.

  • karen

    I talked to a newly licensed lawyer about this and she told me that it explains something she noticed in law school. Many of the guys in her law school were married or in LTRs. And these guys were just in their 20’s. She found out that the married guys either got married during college or right after college but before the start of law school. And many of these guys were married to plain Janes. And after law school, many of the married guys managed to get those high paying jobs in corporate law firms that pay a starting salary of $160,000 a year. So these plain Janes ended up with high status husbands. She thinks it is because many of her male classmates, while incredibly smart, definitely were not the alpha male types who could easily ask out good looking women. She figures that their wives and LTR girlfriends must have aggressively gone after them or given a lot of encouragement.

  • Timothy Webster

    @Plain Jane

    You are right, I do want those young college girls, or at least one. Before she sleeps around too much. I haven’t yet found the 28 year old who has had two or fewer lovers.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Timothy

      You are right, I do want those young college girls, or at least one. Before she sleeps around too much. I haven’t yet found the 28 year old who has had two or fewer lovers.

      I write a lot here about women shrinking their pool by being too picky, too promiscuous, etc. However, you’re doing the same thing here. Honestly, I know that college
      women are not interested in men in their 30s, which confirms your experience. Research shows that the idea age difference, from the female POV, is two years. If you want a woman 10 years younger, you’re going to need to be very wealthy. Something’s gotta give – either the age requirement, or the chastity requirement.

  • Plain Jane

    @ Timothy, well, those college girls might be hard to get. You yourself say they are. Ironically Roissy and others of his ilk keep pouring the Kool Aid that the older a man gets and “comes into his own” the easier it will be for him to bag the hot young babes. Your case proves them wrong. However, all need not be lost. I think serious, relationship-minded early 20 something women might create profiles on serious dating sites like E-Harmony. Give it a try.
    Otherwise troll the book stores around a University campus. Spray some pheromones on or at least a nice smelling cologne.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      Ironically Roissy and others of his ilk keep pouring the Kool Aid that the older a man gets and “comes into his own” the easier it will be for him to bag the hot young babes

      Ha, I wonder why that is. Perhaps because Mr. Weidmann is now in his mid-40s?

      Otherwise troll the book stores around a University campus.

      Unless you are a professor, and probably even then, you will come off as creepy. You might even get reported.

  • GudEnuf

    On top of the Carol paradox, the stable marriage problem gives us another reason why it is best to assertive. It is mathematically proven that if men ask the women out, and women wait for the men to ask them out, then men will get a more optimal match than women. That is to say, men will get a partner that closer matches their preferences than women. So be assertive! It’s mathematically optimal.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @GudEnuf
      Haha, the stable marriage problem is like a Yankee Swap! I can imagine it would work perfectly in a village where everyone must marry. Of course, it doesn’t guarantee falling in love, but it seems like a reasonable system for matching. No wonder medical schools have embraced it.

  • Lupo

    I more or less agree with the “slutty girls get more action” meme, but it’s not sluttiness men are drawn to; it’s more like, femininity. Girl #1 is “more beautiful” than #2 perhaps to a woman. To a man, she has a big jawbone and beady little man eyes. She also has an unfortunate nose, a tan (eww) and looks to be around 30. Girl #2 has giant soulful blue eyes and a girlie jawline, porcelain skin and looks to be about 20. Therefore, I am a lot more attracted to girl #2, regardless of her alleged slut tells (which look to me more like youthful fads). I can understand many men being turned off by girl#2’s dyejob and eye makeup and rating her a 0 for that, but objectively speaking, the real reason she’s better than girl #1, is she’s a lot more youthful and feminine.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      Girl #1 is “more beautiful” than #2 perhaps to a woman.

      Yes, I was aware of that as I was writing. Women do judge one another’s beauty all the time, and we’re not clueless on the topic, but as you point out, what is desirable may be different than classic standards of beauty. Youth and femininity – obviously key concerns for men.

  • Geoff

    @Lupo,
    i can only conclude from your preference for lower photo girl that you are either:
    1. A guy who likes to stir the pot just to raise hell
    2. Gay as a 3 dollar bill
    3. Insane
    4. All of the above
    .
    This…isn’t…even…close

  • Lupo

    Hey Geoff: if you like beady eyed, man-jawed, can-tanned, 30-something probable fat chicks: more power to you. I like ’em young and female myself.

    Someone else pointed out something very accurate: girl #1 looks like she has a law degree and the entitlement mentality that goes with it. She’s also retarded if she thinks being in a photo being groped by dorks makes her look hotter: solipsism is a standard problem of women of her description -that sort of social proof don’t and never will work for girls. Girl #2 looks like she works in a record store and writes bad goth poetry.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      Girl #2 looks like she works in a record store and writes bad goth poetry.

      Exactly! And if I were a guy looking to hook up I’d be down. If I were a guy looking for a wife I’d give her a zero. But again, I’m not a guy…

      Honestly, I think Lupo is too harsh on Girl #1. She is older, it’s true, and I guess a little man-jawed, which is where the resemblance to Jennifer Garner comes in. But I see no indication that she is overweight. And projecting an entitled attitude onto her is just ridiculous.

  • Christi

    @Mike C

    I probably should have elaborated on my date with divorced guy. He didn’t have kids. BUT, his ex wife was drama. She hurt him very badly. She cheated on him with a former boss of his (they used to work together) and he is not emotionally over it even though it was a couple of years ago. The date was great, meaning we had a good dinner, interesting conversation and a fun time dancing at a bar afterwards. But then once a bit of alcohol hit him he told me this sad story. This was the first date! I actually gave him a second chance at a lunch as a quasi-date, and he sort of apologized for the drunken TMI moment, but he launched into even more information. It was very apparent this guy was hurt. This is what I meant by baggage. I acknowledge that a breakup could leave a person devastated as well. But the fact that he is divorced is relevant here b/c he has a problem with marriage now. He is very bitter.

  • Matt T

    Yeah, Girl #1 unfortunately has a very masculine face, whereas Girl #2 is more feminine. Roissy speculates that sluttiness is correlated with masculine facial features, and from anecdotal evidence, I”m inclined to agree with him. This may be another reason why men prefer feminine faces.

    Also, Girl #1 is clueless about what attracts men, so shes engaging in a classic act of projection. Females are programmed to be attracted to “pre-selected” men (alphas who already get girls), which has been proven in studies asking women to rate a man’s attractiveness when he is alone, and when he is surrounded by coeds.

    So Girl #1 reasoned that men must also be attracted to “pre-selected” women, projecting her feelings onto her suitors. To be honest, that’s an epic failure. Showing yourself in a picture with other men (even if they’re anonymous) drives down your attractiveness; men don’t care about pre-selection.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      Roissy speculates that sluttiness is correlated with masculine facial features, and from anecdotal evidence, I”m inclined to agree with him. This may be another reason why men prefer feminine faces.

      This is in direct contrast to the feedback I got on my recent post about sluts having boyfriends. Most of the men said that sluts don’t have boyfriends because they’re sluts, they have them because they are more attractive and feminine.
      .
      I think Girl #2 looks a lot sluttier than Girl #1. I agree with Geoff’s analysis of her. I wonder if this is related to the age of the guy? As I said in the post, I do think young guys are going for slutty, edgy, bitchy chicks, over the cute and wholesome type. Maybe if one doesn’t need to show her to mom, there’s no need to go with “nice.”
      .
      I agree with you about pre-selection. That hand on her shoulder is clearly off-putting to men.

  • Plain Jane

    @ Gudenuf, “On top of the Carol paradox, the stable marriage problem gives us another reason why it is best to assertive. It is mathematically proven that if men ask the women out, and women wait for the men to ask them out, then men will get a more optimal match than women. That is to say, men will get a partner that closer matches their preferences than women. ”

    Its not in a man’s best interest to get a woman who is a more optimal match for him than he is for her. Why? At some point she might meet a man who she perceives to be an optimal match for her. Drama and heartbreak ensue. And if the manosphere is to be believed – alimony and child support.

  • Geoff

    I had no idea so many gay men were reading HUS.

  • Geoff

    If any women OR men are interested in what other men (not just me) find attractive, see:
    .
    http://roissy.wordpress.com/2010/11/08/the-elusive-10-found/
    .
    Granted, it’s unscientific, but seems about right.

  • Matt T

    @Plain Jane:

    “*** Matt T, are you saying that a male 5 is embarrassed to be seen with a female 5 in public?!? If so, that is ridiculous. Like I said, many men pass up women at their own level (not lower), while pining for women several points above them. Its unrealistic.”

    Many women date up, not down, and many women think they are more desirable than they actually are.

    Anyways, I’m going to hazard a guess and say that you don’t see these men screwing 3s and 4s in the privacy of their bedroom. Because if they go long enough without sex, it’s going to happen. But even then, a man wouldn’t settle for a relationship with a 3 or 4, because that’s like saying “I’m a loser with poor genetics that is fit only for low quality females, and the human race would be better off if I hanged myself”.

    Why would a man admit that to everyone?

  • Mike C

    @AnonF
    .
    All other things being equal, people who have married and divorced are viewed as a “worse bet” than never-married people, at least when under age 35 or so (later it gets more complicated).
    .
    I would agree with that. Of course, with the part about “all other things being equal” they never are. I suppose one could rationally argue that someone divorced has given some indication about maybe “being a quitter”. Still, in my view, finding a good match in this life is no easy task, and I would maintain this is a factor that could end up sending a great match packing before you really figure that out. That said, I support the idea that one can prefer anything one wants.
    .
    It’s true that in specific circumstances, a divorced person may not be a worse bet than a single one (no kids, not paying alimony, no co-owned assets, no connection to the ex or ex-in-laws, no permanent emotional trauma or hangups).
    .
    And this was really the very specific set of conditions I was referring to.
    .
    She cheated on him with a former boss of his (they used to work together) and he is not emotionally over it even though it was a couple of years ago.
    ..
    But the fact that he is divorced is relevant here b/c he has a problem with marriage now. He is very bitter.

    .
    OK, got it now. That makes sense, and that certainly is baggage. You are a prospective relationship partner, not a therapist. Guys in that situation need to work through it, and then leave it behind. By the time I met my current GF, my ex-wife was nothing but a distant memory.

  • Mike C

    Geoff, I’m with you. We got some guys with strange fetishes here I think. Girl 1 blows the emo redhead out of the water. Not even close
    .
    Now based on my experience (and really not direct personal experience as much as second knowledge from other guys) the more “unconventional” looking a girl is the more likely she is to be slutty and sexually freaky. Not a universal rule, but a general principle that is mostly accurate.
    .
    In my view, that probably explains 90% of the extra attention. Guys online are looking for the quick score, and they probably identify her as an “easier” target.
    .
    First time through, I missed the hand on the shoulder and the guy in the background. I wonder if that was intentional, but Matt T is right, we guys don’t give two shits about preselection so it is pure projection if she thinks it makes her more attractive.

  • terre

    I don’t see how it’s not even close. I wouldn’t say the first girl has a masculine face but she definitely has a masculine poise, or at least her photo leaves you with that impression. It’d be interesting to see her OkCupid profile.

  • Mike C

    Ironically Roissy and others of his ilk keep pouring the Kool Aid that the older a man gets and “comes into his own” the easier it will be for him to bag the hot young babes. Your case proves them wrong.
    .
    Not really. Depends on the guy. I was seeing a few girls between 20-22 when I was 31-32, and I can tell you my age wasn’t an issue at all. I do think it depends a lot on the guy. Are you fat, balding, a slouch with a potbelly who dresses like a 40-50 year old, or do you workout consistently and try to maintain a youthful appearance?
    .
    I mentioned this rule before. Divide by 2 and add 7 and that gets you to about as low as you can go. Bottom line, either you can generate some attraction or you can’t. If you can, age won’t matter, if you can’t it will.

    http://solomongroup.wordpress.com/2011/01/25/proverb-29-age-before-beauty-nsfw/

    Just posting that for a counterexample. Depends on the guy.

  • Mike C

    I’m trying to imagine having the nerve to approach a stranger in a Starbucks, basically saying, “Hey, you’re attractive, let’s go out.”
    .
    Unless you are getting neon-flashing IOIs though I would never go that route. If you go indirect with some type of offhand conversation starter, you can gauge if there is absolutely any interest whatsoever before putting yourself out there for a rejection.

  • Mike C

    Research shows that the idea age difference, from the female POV, is two years.
    .
    This could be true in theory, but real world be different. I’ve just seen way too many examples to disprove this. When I was bouncing I regularly saw guys mid to late 20s, early 30s pulling 21-22 year olds, but again this was a certain type of guy. Now a 21-22 year old barfly is probably a different situation then a 21-22 year old college student.
    .
    My GF’s sister is 32 and dating a 42-year old, but he is in absolutely phenomenal shape, and dresses very stylish.

  • Mike C

    One more quick thing that came to mind. I was watching a Jersey Shore cast thing once, and they gave their ages. I’m going from memory here but I think Pauly D was something like 29 and Situation was like 29 as well. Pauly D actually looks alot younger then Situation in my opinion, but if you watch the show you see what they routinely pull in terms of the ages of the girls. Those aren’t 29-30 year olds going back to the crib to smoosh.

  • terre

    I have a lot more faith in Roissy’s assertion that men increase in value with age and that a sufficiently confident man can pull women from any demographic (before you jump to conclusions about me being biased in some way, I’m 21). For one, it just makes evolutionary sense; if men form more live births, it stands to reason that the longer a man survives, the more he signals his genetic value. Not a hard rule but a general one.
    .
    I think women who tend to cast aspersions on the notion are both a) inexperienced in the lives of young men, who see women their own age pairing off with slovenly drug addicts, bikers and assistant professors all the time and b) trying to circle the wagons, so to speak; reigning in men their age close to their bosoms. Once again I don’t see any evidence for this world women are describing (not the least of which reasons being that men would be screwed either way in such a world: men my age are ‘immature’, and men older are, well, too old. Alas).

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @terre

      (before you jump to conclusions about me being biased in some way, I’m 21)

      Get out! I figured you were 40 or so. You speak with a lot of authority for a kid.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      , it stands to reason that the longer a man survives, the more he signals his genetic value. Not a hard rule but a general one.

      But women want a partner who will have energy and a long future of resource acquisition to help raise her young. Also, to be honest, women would much rather look at a young body than an aging one. It’s not just men who feel that way. If a man is in good shape, great. But we’re just as turned off as you are by the idea of flabby guts, droopy asses, and soft, flaccid arms.

  • AnonymousF

    @Mike C

    I think we’re mostly on the same page. The bottom line is the number of options a person has will determine whether it’s worth launching a time consuming investigation into prospects with an increased likelihood of possible “messy issues.”

    For people with options, using heuristics makes sense, even if their imprecision leads to some false negatives (as it inevitably will). On the other hand, anyone who complains of a lack of options should follow every lead until it dead ends. Which I guess is what Christi did per her update.

  • Geoff

    Looking at the OKC site again, I noticed the two chicks at the bottom. Covered with tattoos. Alphas and 95% of all betas can translate chicks with tattoos into “not only do I put out, I swallow.”
    .
    The impact of this aspect of a woman’s character visible just from a photo can NOT be overestimated. And because there’s extraneous stuff in practically every photo, it’s not controlled for variation.
    .
    Also, it appears they’re using data from people on OKC but that means there’s a lot of pollution in the data–some girls might come right out and say they’re sluts, some girls might say my daddy is a minister and I love him and Jesus dearly. These would obviously have neck-breaking impacts on the likelihood of a guy out for a Saturday night P&D to contact these chicks. There’s too much junk at play that can wreak havoc on the reliability of the data.
    .
    The best thing they could do would be to take photos of 100 chicks, at the same distance, with no earrings or other jewelry or tattoos visible, and from the same angle. Then ask guys to rate them for looks, and either initiate contact with the girl or not, giving the guy only 5 “cards” to play. That would keep him from shotgunning every girl in the study, or “wasting” his card on a girl who’s a 10 when he’s only a 5. It would be critical for the study for the men to think the girls are all local, and looking for only sex (or marriage). That’s how I’d investigate this “Carol Syndrome” thing with some scientific method applied…

  • Geoff

    Sorry, I should have proofread my stuff before posting:
    – I meant to say “take the girl’s PROFILES out of the equation and make the assessment of attractiveness and willingness of the guy to initiate contact ENTIRELY on the woman’s attractiveness on the photo. Eliminate haircut and hair color if possible.”

  • terre

    The tattoo is probably the funniest and most tragic of all the gigantic “easy” markers.

  • 108spirits

    Those two girls look about equally attractive to me (without seeing the rest of their bodies – although I’m a bit turned off by Girl #1’s big jaws), but they both appear to be attention whores (AW). The big difference is that Girl #1 does her AW by having lots of “male friends” while Girl #2 likely does it by having weird hair colour and maybe occasionally cutting herself a little. Most men would rather deal with the latter than the former.

    Who was it above that said the men here are gay for not preferring big jawed Girl #1 btw? lol

  • Chico

    I have to agree with many on here that the 10s do indeed get hit on. The problems with 10s, and even many women who are just average, is that they have a laundry list of hoops a man must jump through to be worthy of consideration.

    First, it starts with the intangibles such as game, social dominance, and social proof. Those are the qualifications she won’t talk about. Then, he must be at least 5’10, older than her by at least 5 years, have a good job, have a perfect face/body, etc.

    If a reasonably attractive woman asks me “why do no good men want me?” I just shake my head and walk away.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      I have to agree with many on here that the 10s do indeed get hit on.

      I’m interested to know the real life basis of this knowledge – offline. Do you hit on 10s? Do you see women at Starbucks holding receiving lines? Because I can tell you that I have never seen a beautiful woman approached by a man during the day. I can’t speak to the bar/club scene – and I’m sure that’s more conducive to hitting on women, period. But again, I believe that the frequent claim that hot women get asked out 50 times a day is nonsense.

  • http://obsidianraw.bravejournal.com Obsidian

    Hello Ms. Walsh, everyone,
    Well, it’s been awhile since I’ve last appeared in this august forum, and since it’s snowing like I don’t know what outside here in Philly, I that I’d settle in for a nice evening of replying to the thoughts of others and offering a few of my own on the topic under discussion.
    .
    I thought I’d begin here, with a comment Ms. Walsh made above:
    “OK, so let’s say a woman who is a 10 decides she is going to say yes to the first 5 who approaches her. She may wait a very long time. That’s the point – the unwillingness of men to approach. Providing links from Game blogs does not really add evidence, as I already stated that this myth is perpetrated precisely in this arena. And again, I’m not talking about “hired guns” here – sure, a hot slut in a bar gets hit on all the time. The story about Carol is interesting precisely because she is beautiful and classy.”
    .
    For one thing, and with all due respect Ms. Walsh, but you are wrong in your definition/characterization of a “Hired Gun”; I quote the correct definition from the book The Game:

    “Female employees in the service industry who are generally recruited for their attractiveness, such as bartenders, waitresses, shot girls and strippers”.
    -pp. 442

    As we can see, a “hired gun” wouldn’t be in the market in the manner a Carol would, if for no other reason that it is her job to look pretty, not necessarily to attract a suitor. Just wanted to clear that little bit up.

    As for very beautiful Women in general, it has been my experience that they get hit on all the time, but of course they tend not to want to be bothered, and I have no problem with that – there is no law that says that such a Woman must be open to every guy that approaches her. Of course, the big problem with such a view is that she may unwittingly screen out the Men she may actually want to be bothered with, for reasons you recently wrote about, Ms. Walsh. Guys tend to pay fairly close attention to how hot Women in particular treat other potential suitors as they approach, and if she unceremoniously deepsixes them, well, that’s all she wrote in terms of other guys potentially approaching. I’ve seen this happen numerous times.

    Anyway, interesting discussion. Will be registering my own thoughts on the matter in due course.

    O.

  • http://obsidianraw.bravejournal.com Obsidian

    Plain Jane aka Bag Lady,
    Replies below:
    .
    PJ: Its not in a man’s best interest to get a woman who is a more optimal match for him than he is for her. Why? At some point she might meet a man who she perceives to be an optimal match for her. Drama and heartbreak ensue. And if the manosphere is to be believed – alimony and child support.
    .
    O: What then would you recommend such Men to do? Please explain? Thanks! Oh, and the Manosphere’s assertions are indeed rooted in a goodly degree of fact, though I will freely admit that they can be prone to hyperbole at times.
    .
    O.

  • http://obsidianraw.bravejournal.com Obsidian

    Ms. Walsh,
    Replies below:
    .
    SW: Ha, I wonder why that is. Perhaps because Mr. Weidmann is now in his mid-40s?
    .
    O: I wouldn’t be so quick to scoff at Roissy, Ms. Walsh. I can speak from personal experience of my own that it is not at all hard for a Man of Roissy’s age to bag chicks considerably younger than himself – indeed, historically speaking, this is a lot more common than we may realize in our time. My mom was 19 when she married my dad, who was in his late 30s at the time, and they remained together for three decades. I also have a sister who is married to a Man who is well over a decade older than she is; they are doing fine together, with more than four kids, two of them twins (my nieces). I think it is indeed fair to say that all things being equal and within reason, age isn’t a barrier to sexual and/or relationship success for a Man (but it is often a dealbreaker for Women
    .
    “Otherwise troll the book stores around a University campus.”
    .
    SW: Unless you are a professor, and probably even then, you will come off as creepy. You might even get reported.
    .
    O: Not necessarily; recall how Neil “Style” Strauss, met I believe it was a Plyboy bunny in a bookstore. Cities with lots of colleges, like my or your hometowns, can be and often are target rich environments and I would readily recommend them to guys getting their Sarge on. Now of course, you don’t want to be creepy about it, but that goes for just about any area of life, right?
    .
    Holla back
    .
    O.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Obs

      it is not at all hard for a Man of Roissy’s age to bag chicks considerably younger than himself – indeed, historically speaking, this is a lot more common than we may realize in our time. My mom was 19 when she married my dad, who was in his late 30s at the time, and they remained together for three decades. I also have a sister who is married to a Man who is well over a decade older than she is; they are doing fine together

      .
      You are failing to distinguish between “bagging chicks” for a quick lay vs. marriage. An older man has a much better chance of bagging a young chick if he is willing to commit to marriage, or at least a LTR, e.g. cohabitation. But a 40-something guy in a bar is not going to do well with women half his age. 30s? Sure, if he seems youthful and in good shape, and he is successful. I recall one post Roissy wrote where he attended a party where the guests were all playing beer pong. He must have been 15-20 years older than the other men there. His “Game solution” was to stand around drinking Scotch on the rocks, to highlight his sophistication and maturity by contrast. I can guarantee you that the women at that party thought “ew,” and I say that as someone who is on record as considering Roissy quite attractive.

  • http://obsidianraw.bravejournal.com Obsidian

    Ms. Walsh,
    Replies below:
    .
    SW: OK, then, the Carol Syndrome doesn’t seem so completely farfetched. I’m trying to imagine having the nerve to approach a stranger in a Starbucks, basically saying, “Hey, you’re attractive, let’s go out.” I can’t even begin to imagine that. How much easier it would always be to not make the move, to tell myself I probably saved myself humiliation as I realized they were married, or even a parent! Honestly, I feel for guys here. Even as I encourage women to smile in an open and friendly way, make eye contact, etc. I know that the onus is still going to be on the guy to walk over and lay it out there. Signals obviously help, but we women don’t really stop and consider how difficult this really is.
    .
    I’ve been reading along your posts here and ran accross one of your comments where you said that the big trend in dating books and the like is using economic principles and models and applying them to the relationship arena. Of course, we’ve been doing this for some time now, but it’s nice to see others picking up on it. I am very curious to see if someone will write about the very real principle of the cost of business getting to be too high and what happens at that point. As you well know, I’ve gone on record as saying that for a growing cohort of Men, the price of the dating game in our time is just getting to be too expensive, and that’s not even the oft-mentioned and discussed costs associated with marriage; I’m talking about the whole ball of wax, beginning with the all-important “first contact” – approaches and the like. More and more Men are simply deciding that it isn’t worth the hassle at all, and are sitting it out – which cannot help but to have a serious impact on the SMP overall, as more and more Women become frustrated that Men won’t “step up”. But why should they – only to be rejected over and over and over. At some point, either commonsense kicks in, or Cold Reality, and the guys begin to find something else to do with their time. In that the times in which we live doesn’t foster community anymore, but instead anonymous living and stress on the individual, I don’t see this trend dropping off anytime soon; indeed, if anything, I see it increasing. So the Carols of the world might as well get set for a heck of a lot of disappointment and dateless weekends.
    .
    Finally, I feel the need to say this: Women, and this includes to a lesser extent even Ms. Walsh, simply don’t care all that much about the Male losers of the SMP. In fairness, even other guys don’t care either. For both parties – Men and Women both – the fewer the guys there are in the round, the better, although for differing reasons, of course. I just don’t see any major conversation taking place about the “Martys” of the world and what to do about them; our species simply isn’t wired that way. So it will be very interesting to see what happens in the coming decade along these lines.
    .
    Holla back
    .
    O.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      even Ms. Walsh, simply don’t care all that much about the Male losers of the SMP.

      By referencing Marty, I assume here you are talking about 30-something male virgins. I will go on record as saying that feel a lot of support and empathy for men who are working to improve their lives to get what they want. Omega Man is awesome (http://gameforomegas.wordpress.com/). I just caught up over there – I really love that guy and wish him all the best. In contrast, there are some very angry and bitter men who continue to lash our irrationally against women, and I no longer welcome them here.

  • filrabat

    Ultimately, the “strong bidder” vs. “weak bidder” applies ONLY in situations where the great majority of men in that setting are looking for the same traits in women (e.g. players looking for “hotties” to bed for a one-month stand at most; stereotypical “STEM majors” who threw in the towel on the conventional hookup scene and going for character over outer appearance, etc). I can’t see how it applies to settings where you’re equally likely to see Party Animals (where most players are), STEM types, artsy-tattoo types, born-again Christians, etc.).

    Hot vs Cute: To most player types “hot” trumps “cute” because “hot” gets a guy..well..more aroused, and more intensely and quickly besides. Therefore, I think the “hot” vs “cute” issue has to do with the very nature of the hookup market, so Social Darwininan in so many respects – focusing on short-term gain and failing to see that people and things can have tremendous appeal without contributing anything of real, substantive value. While I see the value of this when pursuing real relationships, it’s limited because it fails to take into account other traits a person may or may not have. Most half-way mature people will see that beauty, body, charm, charisma, boldness, and (for men) swagger, social dominance, six-pack abs, wealth, and even the vital traits like communication, diligence and a strong work ethic (!!!) – no matter how appealing or even essential to a relationship…tells them absolutely nothing about their honesty, integrity, empathy, and compassion. Whatever generates their initial appeal is just their brain architecture, neurochemicals, and DNA f***ing with their head (uncharacteristic language of me, I know – but it does get the point across pretty vividly).

    Of course, this assumes the person’s sufficiently experienced AND sufficiently rational enough to see this. Unfortunately a lot of people (especially age 25 and under) either aren’t experienced enough to see all this OR too “high” on their neurochemical coctails (i.e. “the “natural ‘ecstacy’ “_ to see past that. Even those that do manage to see past that are still fairly likely to be overruled by that natural “ex”/MDMA, the brain arciteture of our brain’s more primitive region’s, or whatever to be able to resist the original superficial (and some not so superficial) traits in that other person.

    Assuming the person in the prime SMP-age group is self-controlled and rational enough (yeah, I know, unrealistic for the great majority, but even then I hope this is inspiration to someone out there) – they will see all the drama, grief, and all around stress the hookup scene inevitably delivers. Any rational, self-controlled person who is looking for commitment is going to look for the best prospect for the longest commitment (i.e. “till death do us part”). After all, why go through the stress and anguish of “the search” more than you have to? Such a person probably won’t go anywhere near the hookup scene and certainly not the scene as popularly understood. If they’re really smart and/or perceptive, then they’ll open themselves up to the least attractive person they can possibly be turned on by – providing they put honesty, integrity, empathy, and compassion first and hard work, diligence, and communication a RAZOR CLOSE second.

    So, in short, the weak bidders vs strong bidders does make sense providing the setting and the types of people in that setting are practically monolithic. As someone said on another thread – an omega in one setting can be an alpha in another (though I think the “alpha male” theory has its limits, even if it does have some value).

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @filrabat
      I do agree with your take on the strong bidder vs. weak bidder theory, and I think that it’s more likely to hold true among men who are not players – they would be the most susceptible to being snapped up by a decisive, perhaps less attractive woman. In other words, weak bidders do best when they target good, stable men who are commitment-oriented, at least for marriage. In college, they do well in another way – and if they are the same women, it confirms the common belief that women act wild in college with players, then look for a nice guy to marry.
      .
      I also wonder whether OKCupid attracts a crowd different enough from other online dating sites that their analyses can’t extrapolated to the general population. I have little familiarity with online dating, but from what I can gather, college students who do online dating are most likely to go to OKCupid. If it skews young, that could explain some of the ratings there, as the men are focused on hooking up.

  • Florence

    “[…] on second though, I went on a date last month with a guy who was 35. It was great. But he had too much baggage (had an ex wife), so I nipped it in the bud.”
    .
    – Personally, I would be concerned if a man has been married and divorced, but I would not disqualify him if he has no kids and no connections to his ex-wife, and does not carry too much emotional baggage (constantly talking about how horrible the ex-wife was, etc).
    – I would disqualify a man who has been married and divorced IF the reason for his divorce was that he cheated. They say ‘Once a cheater, always a cheater’! I would also disqualify him if he was abusive or had a low libido or had any other major problem.
    – I would not disqualify a divorced man if the reason for the divorce was “unreconciable differences”.
    – Some women are or turn to psycho bitches, throwing things around, screaming, having unrealistic demands or expectations too high of the men they’ve chosen. In such situations, it doesn’t mean that the guy wasn’t good or did something seriously wrong.
    – A guy who has been in a LTR or a marriage is definitely a good bid! It shows that he is the committable type, which is scarce. A lot of the guys nowadays, are selfish, cold, and virtually emotionless.
    .
    “Of course they WANT the 10s, just like the average girls would still WANT tall, dark, handsome, socially dominant, and charming.”
    – If a woman is petite (5’4”), but has been told that she is “cute” and has a pretty face and a curvy famine body with a BMI within the healthy range is it unrealistic to have a preference for a guy who is 5’8” and up? She is also educated and has a low number, if that matters at all. Just out of curiosity…
    .
    @ SW
    Forgive me if someone has already brought up these points, but I haven’t read every single post. In my opinion, there probably is some Carol paradox going on, but the extent of it is hard to know. The male crowd in OKCupid, might be biased in a way that there are more guys who are looking for sex (hense the 2nd girl gets hit on more) than there are guys actually looking for relationships. The guys looking only for sex might say that they are looking for relationships, when in reality they are not. In fact, when online dating first started most of the guys who were on there were mostly looking for sex. If we can examine more carefully what kinds of guys and what their median age was that hit on the 2 girls, we may be able to explain part of the Carol paradox. In addition, this assessment does not take into account what each woman had written on her profile. The first woman might have written that she is med school and looking only for LTRs, which might scare off half the crowd, while the 2nd woman might have written about her everyday hobbies, her “playful personality”, her willingness to have fun or any other qualities that might render her more approachable and easier to get.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Florence
      I agree with your observations about the OKCupid analysis. Geoff actually laid out what would need to happen for this to be an objective, sound study – it’s a long way from what we’ve got now.

  • Lavazza

    Christi: Women know women enough to know that a man who has once committed and is now single will most likely have been messed up by the woman he committed to, and that he will therefor be commitment cautious. Cluelessness is what a woman looking for commitment should be looking for.

  • Plain Jane

    @ Susan, “But women want a partner who will have energy and a long future of resource acquisition to help raise her young. Also, to be honest, women would much rather look at a young body than an aging one. It’s not just men who feel that way. If a man is in good shape, great. But we’re just as turned off as you are by the idea of flabby guts, droopy asses, and soft, flaccid arms.””

    SO TRUE! That’s why for me getting approached by men way older than me gives rise to a primitive, instinctual gag as in vomiting response deep from within the core of my being. I immediately think “ewwww my dad/uncle/grandpa is trying to hit on me”. I think such men must have “daughter issues” LOL!

    Regarding the looks of the 2 ladies pictured here, I think the first one looks “sluttier” because she looks like she isn’t wearing any clothes and is surrounded by people who ARE clothed. The second girl looks younger. She doesn’t look sluttier, she just looks faddish, like someone else already pointed out. Heck, go to any Junior High School and half of the 13 year olds, both girls AND boys, are dressed like that.
    As far as tattooes, my 80 something GRANDMA is planning to get one – LOL!
    Tattoes are mainstream now, they don’t mean anything.

    @ Timothy and his desire for a young college woman before she rides the carousel – Susan has suggested here before that serious minded college women check out the STEM (SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, ENGINEERING, MATH) corridors of their campus for a “nice guys” willing to commit. I would suggest the same to you. Of course, the percentage of women in STEM are much less than Liberal Arts, and that can work to your advantage as I bet these more studious and serious women also have not gotten much attention, play or lay from guys on campus and they might be very flattered if an older, relationship-oriented gentleman like yourself showed interest!

    They are also probably less likely to have fuschia hair, mutliple piercings and dragon tattooes!

  • Guardial

    Susan Walsh wrote, “Providing links from Game blogs does not really add evidence,…

    Ann Althouse, is the “Robert W. & Irma M. Arthur-Bascom Professor of Law” at the University of Wisconsin Law. Her blog is frequently linked by Instapundit.

    She does not run a “Game blog.”

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Guardial
      I apologize, I spoke in ignorance, after just checking out Tantor’s comment. I’ve just gone back and read both the post and the comments. It did provide context for Tantor’s comment, and I don’t disagree with what he says about women taking elite classes in search of rich men. I do disagree, though, about attractive women getting asked out on dates throughout the week. Think about it – when does this happen? Not while they’re at